Porsche is firmly established as the definitive brand of sports car, and the Boxster is where the range starts. This sleek and sexy mid-engined two-seater has been around since 1996. The second generation model appeared in 2005, and the current car is the third generation Boxster, launched in the second half of 2012. In internal Porsche terminology it is known as the 981.
The Boxster is admired for its svelte looks, great handling and excellent performance. Always good-to-drive, this latest model is the best yet and has been widely admired for its very engaging road behaviour. Although expensive by the standards of the majority of cars, it is still the most affordable way to drive with that revered Porsche badge on the bonnet.
There are two versions, the Boxster with a 2.7 litre engine, and the Boxster S with a 3.4 litre engine. Both engines are six-cylinder, 24-valve petrol units made of aluminium. Both cars are stunning performers, with top speeds in excess of 160 mph and 0-62 acceleration times below six seconds. The ‘S’ is nine mph quicker flat-out and its benchmark acceleration is seven-tenths of a second faster, at a price of nearly £8,000 extra. Both versions come with a standard six-speed gearbox, and there is an optional seven-speed twin-clutch auto.
Prices are £38,237 for the Boxster and £46,112 for the Boxster S.Performance
We tested the standard Boxster, with a 2,706 cc engine that pumps out 265 bhp of power peaking at 6,700 rpm and 206 lb feet of torque sustained over a 2,000 rpm band from 4,500 to 6,500. The CO2 output is 192 g/km, and so band J for road tax, and the combined average fuel figure is 34.4 mpg. It's impressively quick, with a 0-62 mph acceleration time of just 5.8 seconds.
From the moment you get behind the wheel you cannot but help being impressed that this is one heck of a car. It has vivid throttle response, precision steering and tremendous grip. It is a joy to drive, hugely responsive and rewardingly communicative. With the standard Boxster this good, you do wonder why you would pay the big jump in price for only a slight increase in performance from the S, other than the cachet of having the top-rung badge on the tail.
The Boxster's kerbweight is a relatively light 1,310 kg and the front-rear weight balance is very evenly spread, helped by the engine's location over the rear axle just aft of the seats.
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